Patriots

Celtics-Jazz review: C's tune out Jazz in 4th

941407.jpg

Celtics-Jazz review: C's tune out Jazz in 4th

BOSTON The Boston Celtics once again found themselves in a nail-biter that wasn't decided until the final seconds of play.

And once again the C's managed to prevail as they held on for a 98-93 win over the Utah Jazz.

Boston came into Wednesday's game having with a margin of just 4.8 points in games they came away victorious.

Adding to the degree of difficulty on Wednesday was the fact that the C's played the entire fourth quarter and part of the third without point guard Rajon Rondo, who has a right ankle sprain and is questionable for Thursday night's game in Brooklyn against the Nets.

Boston got a ton of clutch plays most of the night from Rondo's replacement - Leandro Barbosa - as well as key reserves Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox.

But like most games, defensive play usually dictates who leaves with a win and who departs playing the 'what if..." game.

"Defensively, we're coming on," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "You know, we gave up a couple things that they shouldn't have had, but overall I think we're starting to understand that this 'single possession defensive team' mentality. Every single possession. I don't know if our new guys get that yet, but I think they're starting to."

Solid defense and timely shot-making once again proved to be a winning formula down the stretch for Boston. Here's a review of some keys outlined prior to the game, and how they ultimately played out.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Every team has a flaw that the opponent wants to exploit. For the Celtics, it is rebounding. I know ... shocking! Boston ranks dead last on the glass at 46 rebounds per game. They face a Utah team that once again is among the NBA's best on the boards. Utah hauls in 55 rebounds per game which ranks sixth in the NBA.

WHAT WE SAW: Not surprisingly, the Celtics were crushed on the boards by the Jazz in decisive fashion, 48-33. It was especially ugly on the offensive glass with the Jazz out-boarding them, 18-4. "When we get out-rebounded by what we did, 18-4 ... it's hard to win a basketball game. And yet we still won it."

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Brandon Bass vs. Paul Millsap. Tonight's matchup here offers up a rare treat: two power forwards who are actually ... power forwards. Bass is the better face-up scorer, but you have to give Millsap the edge when it comes to rebounding.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass was no different than most power forwards Millsap faces, with Millsap showcasing an impressive game around the basket before finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds to go with four assists and a couple blocks. Bass wasn't too shabby (eight points on 4-for-8 shooting) scoring the ball, but three rebounds? The C's need him to be better - much better - than that.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Chris Wilcox isn't putting up huge numbers for the Celtics, but he is contributing in ways that should help ease some of the interior pressure defensively that's squarely on the shoulders of Kevin Garnett now. It's well documented how significant the drop-off is when Garnett leaves the game to take a rest. Wilcox is rounding into shape so that Garnett taking a break may not necessarily be as big an issue in the future. "I'm getting there; I'm getting there," Wilcox told CSNNE.com. "I just have to keep on grinding man, making sure I do my part to help this team win. When I come in for KG, that means defense and rebounding."

WHAT WE SAW: Wilcox was among the reasons Doc Rivers was able to play Kevin Garnett the entire fourth quarter and not be worried about minutes played. Wilcox had seven points and five rebounds while playing just over 18 minutes. "At the end of the day, the biggest thing for me is just bringing the energy," Wilcox said. "Once I just bring the energy, start running the floor things just start falling into place."

STAT TO TRACK: Both teams have had some pretty good halftime spiels from their coaches, evident by the third quarter being so good to them offensively. Boston averages 25.6 points in the third quarter this season which ranks seventh in the NBA. Meanwhile the Jazz aren't too far behind with 25.2 points in the third quarter which ranks ninth in the league.

WHAT WE SAW: The third quarter was once again the Celtics best scoring quarter of the game. In the third, Boston had 29 points compared to 24 by the Jazz. "We're getting better," said C's forward Paul Pierce. "Like I said, it's a process."

Redskins' 20-10 victory adds to woes for Giants (2-9)

washington-redskins-kirk-cousins-giants-112317.jpg

Redskins' 20-10 victory adds to woes for Giants (2-9)

LANDOVER, Md. - Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to compensate for a pick-6, and the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants 20-10 on Thursday night on a drab field in a drab game between two injury-depleted teams that did not look ready for prime time. Click here to read more. 


 

Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

That Celtics win streak was dope. Let’s map out an even longer one that probably won’t happen. 

Nobody’s actually expecting them to keep the pace they’ve established with their recently concluded run. Still, with 63 games remaining, there’s still time for the Celtics to have up to three win streaks of even longer than 16 games. So, because it’s the holidays and the holidays are all about positivity (fun move you’ve probably picked up from movies: You can say “the holidays are all about _____” and just put in whatever you want and it will work), let’s map out the next win streak. 

MORE CELTICS:

A big part of the Celtics’ 16-gamer (and get ready to say “duh”) is that they were better than a lot of the teams they beat. But they also beat one team that was without question better than them and beat a few teams that could certainly beat them on any given night. 

Here’s a rough breakdown of the 16 games: 

- Even if they didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated, nine games were against what could be classified as easy prey based on their rosters and how those teams were playing: The 76ers, the Knicks, the Kings, the Hawks twice, the Lakers, the Hornets, the Nets and the Mavericks. 

- Let’s say that the Heat (whom they played and beat during the streak before Miami snapped the streak Wednesday) and Magic weren’t perceived pushovers, but rather unremarkable opponents. 

- Four games were against what one could call worthy opponents for the Celtics: the Bucks, the Spurs (though they were missing Kawhi Leonard), the Thunder and the Raptors. 

- Nobody was ever pretending the Celtics were actually better than the Warriors. 

So that breaks the 16 games into one game against an unequivocally superior opponent, four against worthy opponents, two against unremarkable teams, and nine joke books. 

Of course, there are several variables that can be thrown into that, such as the fact that the C’s beat one of the aforementioned good teams (Toronto) without Kyrie Irving and nearly lost to two of those trash teams (Charlotte and Dallas). You can’t predict injuries just like you shouldn’t predict win streaks, but let’s take all the information we have and try to find the next one:

STARTING FRIDAY

Friday vs. Magic (trash; probable win)

Saturday at Pacers (unremarkable; potential loss)

A back-to-back after a holiday with the second game on the road against a team that’s been way better than expected? I don’t like the sound of it. 

Nov. 27 vs. Pistons (worthy opponent; potential loss)

Are they overrated? Maybe, but Pistons currently hold the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Whether it’s the Pacers or the Pistons, I think this short stretch prevents a speed bump. The streak might have to wait. 

STARTING NOV. 30

Nov. 30 against Sixers (upgraded to unremarkable based on recent play; still win)

Remember: The last streak started against the Sixers. Hopefully, Kyrie pays that fans’ way to Boston for a halftime reunion. 

Dec. 2 vs. Suns (trash; win)

Dec. 4 vs. Bucks (worthy opponent; win)

Celtics aren’t losing to those sons of guns twice at home. 

Dec. 6 vs. Dallas (trash; win)

Can you get revenge on a team for almost beating you? Yes. The Celtics will. 

Dec. 8 at Spurs (worthy opponent; win)

Until I see Kawhi on the court, this one is a win. 

Dec. 10 at Detroit (worthy opponent; win)

The Pistons play the Spurs, Bucks and Warriors the three previous games. They’ll be all tuckered out. 

Dec. 11 through Dec. 23 (mix of unremarkable and trash opponents; seven wins)

Dec. 25 vs. Wizards (worthy opponent; win)

Terry Rozier becomes a household name with a Christmas performance for the ages. 

Dec. 27 at Charlotte (trash; win) 

Dec. 28 vs. Houston (worthy opponent; win) 

Dec. 31 vs. Brooklyn (trash; loss)

The Celtics are 0-1 the days prior to holidays this season. The streak ends at 18. 

THE REST OF THE SEASON

We'll assess it then, but for now, let's say undefeated (including playoffs).